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Live Blog: UVA football hosts Duke in ACC opener

Scott German and Jeff Fife lead our live blog as UVA (3-1) faces Duke (4-1, 1-1 ACC) in the Cavs’ ACC opener on Saturday.

 

Game Preview: How do ‘Hoos stack up with Blue Devils?

uva dukeUVA is now a slight favorite in its ACC opener with Duke set for Saturday at Scott Stadium.

The Cavs (3-1) are coming off a bye week that followed up an eye-opening 42-23 win at Boise State on Sept. 22. Duke (4-1, 1-1 ACC), for its part, comes in off a 31-6 beatdown at home to Miami this past weekend.

Virginia is riding about as high as it has in years. The program hasn’t had a winning season since 2011, and has had just two winning seasons in its last 11 years.

 

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Duke got in the way the last time a UVA team began ACC play looking to turn that trend around. The 2014 team was 4-2 with wins in ACC play over Louisville and Pitt heading into a mid-October matchup with Duke in Durham, before losing 20-13, and going on to lose five of its last six games to finish 5-7.

The two teams match up pretty well for this week’s matchup. Duke is perhaps a little more stout defensively, giving up 291 yards and 18.3 points per game, though Miami gashed the Blue Devils for 409 yards in last week’s road win.

Virginia gives up 341.3 yards per game to opponents, but the D has been a key in back-to-back blowout wins over UConn and Boise State, whose outputs were enhanced in garbage time (21 of their 41 points and 282 of their 817 yards coming in the fourth quarters of those games).

The UVA offense has turned the ball just once in 2017, and quarterback Kurt Benkert has been lights-out, completing 66.1 percent of his passes, nearly 10 percent better than last year, for 1,249 yards and 10 TDs.

Wideout Andre Levrone has emerged as the ACC’s top deep threat, averaging 26.8 yards per catch with four touchdowns among his 13 receptions.

Duke QB Daniel Jones is completing 59.4 percent of his passes for 1,070 yards and five touchdowns with three interceptions.

Watch out for tailback Shaun Wilson, who is averaging 6.1 yards per rush with 412 yards and five TDs on the ground.

Placekicker Austin Parker is 9-of-11 on field-goal attempts, with a long of 45. UVA kicker A.J. Mejia is 2-of-3 on field-goal tries, with a long of just 28, and UVA coach Bronco Mendenhall is much more likely to go for fourth down in scoring territory.

Duke leads the ACC in sacks with 18 through five games. The Virginia offensive line, expected to be a weak point coming into the season, has allowed just six sacks, and three over the past three games.

Game Preview by Chris Graham

 

Virginia vs. Duke • #DUKEvsUVA
Date/Time Sat., Oct. 7, 2017 | 12:20 p.m.
Location Charlottesville, Va. | Scott Stadium (61,500)
Television ACC Network | Affiliates
Radio Virginia Sports Radio Network |
Satellite Radio — Sirius 83 | XM 83
Multimedia Gametracker | WatchESPN
Twitter @UVA_Football | @UVACoachBronco | @VirginiaSports
Game Notes Virginia | Duke | ACC | UVA Depth Chart
Additional Information Tickets | Facebook | Instagram | 2017 Fact Book |
Game Day Central | 2017 Season Stats |
Coach Mendenhall Monday Press Conference Transcript

 
Discussion
  • Scott German

    Pregame from Scott Stadium. UVA-Duke 15 minutes away from kickoff

  • Scott German

    new security guidelines creating a log-jam for fans entering stadium, stadium near empty with 8 minutes till kickoff

  • Scott German

    duke wins toss and will kick

  • Scott German

    uva starts at their own 41.

  • Scott German

    third

  • Scott German

    uva faces 4th and inches at mid field

  • Scott German

    duke holds and takeover at midfield

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    After passing the joys of security lines … I’m here. Substituting for Chris Graham who is on ESPN3 with VMI today. Beautiful day for some football – now just need the fans to get in 🙂

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    Uva turns the ball over on 4th down at the 50.

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    On a deflection – Blanding returns the interception for 60 yards … HUGE

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    As miles of waiting UVA fans that didn’t read the new bag policy hear the Good Ole Song from the 25k or so that are in the stadium for the first score of the day ….

  • Scott German

    uva offensive line play will be critical

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    The lower bowl is starting to fill in … student section is still oddly about 20% capacity. The fans that are int he stadium are making enough noise for everyone …. Crowd is fired up for a Va victory as Duke goes 3 and out ….

  • Scott German

    uva punts on their second possession

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    Uninspired offensive set for the Hoos – 2 runs through the tackles and a screen pass. But the punt salvages a weak offensive set as 62 yards pins back the Blue Devils on the 10 yard line. Be good to see the Boise State philosophy coming out for Va soon.

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    Benkert throws his 7th interception of the season giving Duke the ball at their 40 yard line.

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    Matt Johns is on the field watching from the sidelines as Duke stalls offensively including a dropped ball that could have been a touchdown.

    Scott German then leans over and tells me he expects UVA to choke a play like this – seconds later – roughing the kicker …..

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    Correction – running into the kicker (my eyes saw roughing …). Penalty declined and UVA starts from from inside its 15.

  • Scott German

    lucky break for uva on the roughing the kicker penalty. only five yards and not an automatic first down. uva takes over at their own 13

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    Uva’s 1st first down comes at the 5:35 mark of the 1st quarter …. and then the false start. Not seeing the offense getting into a rhythm yet.

  • Scott German

    2nd false start penalty for uva. considering the cav’s are coming off an off week they are not sharp

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    Uva coaching staff might want to play the lottery after this first quarter. A tipped ball converted to a pick six for UVA, 2 dropped deep passes for the Blue Devils.

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    Thornhill steps in front of Jones middle pass for the 2nd interception of the quarter. Benkert returns the favor and throws a week outside pass returned for a TD by Duke.

  • Scott German

    Duke is clearly winning the line battle on both sides of the ball

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    3 first downs …. 3 turnovers. It’s a sloppy first quarter for the both teams offenses. After 1 quarter of action – game is tied 7-7. Offensive line for Uva is pretty offensive to this point.

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    Student section has finally filled in after the first quarter. It’s still pretty dead in the upperbowl as tens of thousands of fans have deciding gardening is more fun then watching UVa’s offense.

  • Scott German

    each team has two first downs after one quarter. makes me want to take up gardening.

  • Scott German

    uva offense making the boise state game look like a fluke

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    Uva’s punter is the MVP so far. Coleman hits a 52 yarder and pins Duke back to the 11

  • Scott German

    is cotton candy a football treat?

    • Jeffrey D. Fife

      Anyone want to bring popcorn to the press box. Great breakfast this afternoon served by Uva Sports.

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    Interestingly … Uva’s fan base does get loud for 3rd downs. It’s almost like the shotclock under 10 seconds in basketball. Great buzz from the fans …. but Duke gets the first down.

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    Duke on a long sustained drive has moved inside the 10 yard line. Quinton Harris comes in and runs the ball twice – the Duke offense seems to be more effective under Jones who is back under center.

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    15 play drive – almost 7 minutes off the clock. 88 yards … Duke leads 14-7 and Uva’s offensive inefficiencies looms large right now.

  • Scott German

    duke’s long scoring drive sustained by the legs of blue devil qb Daniel Jones

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    3 and out. Benkert is scrambling for his life. Unless some 2nd half adjustments are made with the offensive line – it will be a challenge for Uva to move the ball. This last 4 minutes are critical for Uva to keep Duke off the scoreboard. Lick their offensive wounds and come back with renewed energy in the 2nd half. It’s still very much a game on the scoreboard but the play on the field and momentum is going the Blue Devils way

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    Uva’s defense has been as impressive as the offense has struggled. Uva holds duke to a short punt and crosses midfield with 2 pass interference calls.

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    3rd defensive pass interference call on this drive. Uva has figured out how to move the ball … thanks Duke.

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    Zaccheaus scores on a nicely designed 11 yard pass play that gave him plenty of room to maneuver in the open field. 6 plays – 69 yard. Uva ties the game at 14.

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    That’s the half. Uva fans cheer enthusiastically as their team leaves the field after an impressive 2 minute drive supported by 3 Duke penalties. After the first half – Duke and Uva are tied at 14.

  • Scott German

    interested to see if coach mendenhall can make some adjustments to give benkert more time

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    2nd half underway. Maybe the most important half of football in recent UVa history. A big victory over Duke could get them closer to a bowl game and maybe invite some of the gardening hoo fans that decided not to make the game today.

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    UVa offense comes out with significantly more energy in the 2nd half. They look like a completely different team.

  • Scott German

    uva’s first dive in second half moves to duke nine

  • Scott German

    pass interference moves ball to the 4

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    Replay – media row has mixed thoughts on whether the ball crossed the plane …
    I say TD

  • Scott German

    great start for uva. 10 plays 79 yards for the score. 21-14 Cavaliers

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    And it’s a TD – Uva drives 10 plays for 79 yards. It’s a different offensive look ….

    Sunburnt fans sing the Good Ole Song as a party is brewing in Charlottesville.

  • Scott German

    disappointing crowd of 38,968

  • Scott German

    for 23,000 fans that are not here I guess it takes more than one road win to erase a decade of bad memories

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    The Uva whoopie pies served at halftime to the media members where fantastic …. just saying 🙂

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    Uva’s D remains stiff as a field position game has broken out ….

  • Scott German

    bekert showing some foot speed

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    Fascinating play as Benkert fakes a sweep hand off and trips over his own player switching gears … then flips the ball while falling underhanded out of bounds. He saves 7 yards – then runs 15 yards on the next play scrambling out of the pocket.

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    Benkert moving the chains with his feet … I feel a big pass play coming …

  • Scott German

    benkert again with his legs picks up critical 1st down

  • Scott German

    15 minutes left and uva leading 21-14

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    Uva up 21-14 through 3 with a critical 4th and short to start the 4th quarter from the 32 yard line. Uva’s offense is a completely different team. You have to hand it to Mendenhall for making the proper adjustments.

  • Scott German

    opening the fourth uva faces fourth and 1 from the duke 33. possibly the biggest fourth down conversion for uva football in a decade.

  • Scott German

    would be a 50 yard field goal attempt if uva had a dependable kicker.

  • Scott German

    duke holds and takes over at their own 33

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    39000 fans rise …

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    questionable call on the punt as 2 Duke players take the ball with them into the endzone – yet one official demonstrably points that it was downed before then. Looks like a no brainer to reverse but my gut says they don’t and Uva starts at the 2

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    Ruled a Touchback ….. review works 🙂

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    Big drive for Uva as they convert 2 consecutive first downs. Uva burns their 2nd timeout. 10:25 remaining – Uva leads 21-14.

  • Scott German

    10:25 left 21-14 uva facing a 2nd and 10 at their own 47

  • Scott German

    14 yard pass completion for the 1st down

  • Scott German

    uva moves to the duke 34

  • Scott German

    holding call on duke moves the ball to the 24

  • Scott German

    another huge 3rd down for virginia

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    On a critical 3rd down, Benkert hits Dowling from 17 yards out. A 13 play scoring drive of 80 yards gives Uva a 28-14 lead with 7 minutes left in the 4th.

  • Scott German

    bekert to dowling for the td uva up 28-14 with 7 minutes left

  • Scott German

    dare it be that if uva holds duke on this drive then the ball game is…………….

  • Scott German

    remember mike London is no longer coaching this team

    • Jeffrey D. Fife

      You had to say it …

  • Scott German

    duke returns kick off to the uva 13.

  • Scott German

    duke scores, makes it a 28-21 game. about Mike London not coaching this team…………..

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    Boos reign down Scott Stadium as a phantom pass interference penalty extends the Duke drive.

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    Uva goes 3 and out but a 52 yard punt puts Duke deep inside it’s 20. Wow – somebody give that punter a game ball.

  • Scott German

    3rd and 10 for duke at their own 17

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    I believe this is the loudest I’ve heard UVa’s football crowd in awhile

  • Scott German

    duke punts to uva. 4:57 left 28-21 Hoos

  • Scott German

    uva moves the chains 1st down at their own 41

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    Morgan Moses is in the building … and Uva’s offensive line is pushing Duke’s D-line around this drive

  • Scott German

    3rd and five for Hoos’ at their own 35 Duke with one timeout left

  • Scott German

    duke forces a uva punt, and takes over at their own 20 after the touchback

  • Scott German

    uva defense called upon again.

  • Scott German

    sack by chris pearce sets up a second and 18. duke forced to take final timeout. 2;31 left

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    Huge sack by Chris Peace forces Duke to take their final timeout. Uva’s fans have embraced the defense and are literally louder than anytime I’ve heard them in 10 years.

  • Scott German

    duke moves ball across midfield

  • Scott German

    ball

  • Scott German

    aat

  • Scott German

    uva

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    Duke driving and Uva’s D looks a little gassed but still fighting. 3rd down and 6 – crowd rises

  • Scott German

    ball at uva 30

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    I officially can’t hear Scott talk to me as he sits next to me. LOUDDDDDD

  • Scott German

    4th and 14 for duke. ball game on line.

  • Scott German

    pass attempt broken up. uva takes over on downs. 1:08 left uva 28-21.

  • Jeffrey D. Fife

    Uva gets the ball on downs. It’s time for victory formation. Uva will win 28-21. Give this one to Mendenhall, his staff, the punter, and the 39000 fans that made alot of noise in the 4th quarter. Uva moves to 4-1 and has officially put the acc on notice.

  • Scott German

    final from scott stadium Virgina 28 duke 21. Virginia now 1-0 in ACC play and 4-1 overall.

  • Scott German

    Virginia players taking a victory lap around scott stadium!!!!!

  • Scott German

    should they do that? damn right they should!!!

 
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